How to Teach Our Children to Give Good Gifts


October 22, 2013 by FHElessons

In my opinion, one of the main purposes of Christmas is for us to learn to be good gift givers.  In giving thoughtful gifts that involve sacrifice on our parts, we show our devotion to God.  For a more in depth discussion of this concept, please see my article Why We Give Gifts for Christmas.

How to Teach Our Children to Give Good Gifts

For those of us who are parents, we also have a second job – to teach our children to be good gift givers.  Today I would like to offer a lesson outline to help you teach this concept during a Family Home Evening before Christmas.

Hymn Suggestions:


The Lesson

Set up a nativity scene to show your family.

Tell them: Here is a picture of the first Christmas.  Do you see a gift in this scene?

The Nativity as a visual aid for why we give good gifts at Christmas

If they say, “no”, tell them to look harder.  They may point out the gifts brought by the wise men or gifts given by the shepherds (a sheep) or other visitors such as in the song, “The Little Drummer Boy.”  You can talk about those gifts (for an in depth discussion of the gifts brought by the wise men, see Why We Give Gifts for Christmas).

After these gifts are discussed for a while, ask, “Which of all the gifts in this scene do you think came first?  What was the first gift of Christmas?”

How to Give Great Gifts like God gave Us

Pick up the Baby Jesus from the scene and give it to one of your children.  Tell your family, “Jesus was the first gift of Christmas.  Heavenly Father gave us the gift of His Only Begotten Son.”  Read:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Ask: “Why do you think He did that?  Why was Jesus a good gift for us?”

Possible Answers:

  • He died for us
  • He atoned for our sins
  • He made it possible for us to be resurrected
  • He made it possible for us to return to live with our Heavenly Father
  • He made it possible for us to be with our families for eternity
  • He brings our prayers to Heavenly Father
  • He comforts us
  • He gives us the gifts of salvation and exaltation


Show a gift.

A Good Christmas Gift

Ask: “What are some of the best gifts you have ever received in your life?”

Ask: “When someone gives you a really great gift, what does it make you want to do?”

It makes me want to give something back to him/her, hopefully something as good as what he/she gave me.  In this scripture, Jesus tells us what we can do.  Read:

Freely ye have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:8)

How can we give to Heavenly Father and Jesus when they’re not here?  Read:

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee?  or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in?  or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  (Matthew 25:34 – 40)

The way we can give back to Heavenly Father and Jesus is by giving to each other!

So, Heavenly Father and Jesus gave us amazing gifts.  If we want to try to repay them, we want to give amazing gifts to each other, too, right?  Let’s think about how to do that while I show you some of the best gifts I have ever received.

Here you will show your family some of your favorite gifts and talk about why those were good gifts.  Here are some examples of some of my favorite gifts that I have received in my life:

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

Here are two different nativity sets that one of my sisters made for me.

Nativity by

I love these gifts because:

  • They took time and effort to make.
  • They help me celebrate the Christmas season.
  • They are unique – something I couldn’t just go out and buy on my own.


Here are some pages from a quiet book that another one of my sisters made for me.  As you can see, it’s well worn.

A Quiet Book as a Great GiftQuiet book made by my sister was a great giftAwesome quiet book made for me by my sisterMore quiet book pages as part of a great gift to me by my sister

I love this gift because:

  • It took many, many hours of time.
  • It brought many hours of joy to my children.
  • It helped my children be reverent during church.
  • It is unique.


Here is a quilt that my grandmother made for me.  It was a gift for my sixteenth birthday, and if the hundreds of hours of embroidery weren’t enough, she also crocheted pillows to go with it.

Hand embroidered temple quilt was a great gift from my grandmother

I love this gift because:

  • It took many, many hours of time. I know it’s hard to see in the picture, but it has the St. George temple embroidered on it.  I would later be married in that temple.
  • It is something that will last forever and become an heirloom.
  • I know she was thinking of me as she made it.


In the picture below the quilt is draped over a trunk.  That trunk was also a great gift.  My father-in-law refinished it for us, which took many, many hours, and my mother-in-law covered the insides with fabric.  In the picture above it, you can see my grandmother who made the quilt.  She is in the picture with my grandfather.

Hand finished trunk was a great gift from my father-in-law


Here is a shelf that my husband made for me:

Awesome shelf my husband made me was a great gift

I love this gift because:

  • It took time and effort to make.
  • It is something I had been wanting for years, and he knew it.
  • It greatly improves the way my room looks.


What are some of the common themes you see in why I love each of these gifts?

1.  Each of these gifts involved a sacrifice.  For these, the givers sacrificed time and effort and creativity.  A good gift could also involve a sacrifice of money or of thought.  I remember one year when I was growing up that my parents decided not to give each other Christmas gifts so that they could afford a bicycle for me.  It was a great gift because I rode it everywhere and loved it.  Unfortunately, it was stolen sometime during the year.  The following year, my parents again sacrificed and chose not to give each other gifts so that they could give me another bicycle.

2. Each of these gifts are unique, something that I couldn’t just go out and buy for myself.  A good gift doesn’t necessarily have to be unique, but that’s just something I like about these gifts.  It makes me want to keep them forever.  It makes me treasure them.

3.  I know the giver was thinking of me as he or she made this gift.  The gift has love in it.

4.  The giver thought about my needs and wants.  He or she put time and effort into thinking about what would please me and what I could use and what I might need.  The giver took time to get to know me, and his or her gift shows that he or she knows me well.

5. Some more thoughts: A good gift also doesn’t have to be homemade.  One year my son gave me a food processor.  Although it obviously wasn’t homemade, it was a good gift because he thought about what I would want and need (I use my food processor all the time, and my old one had broken).  He put time and effort into researching which would be a good one and chose a reliable brand.  I use it almost every day.  Another time my daughter gave me a little book called, “Do It Yourself Restaurant Guide.”  That was something I would never have thought of buying for myself, but after I filled it in with a bunch of restaurants I wanted to try, my husband and I have had fun on our date nights trying and reviewing new restaurants.  My daughter’s gift has given us lots of fun date nights and improved our relationship.  Some other gifts I use pretty much every day are the computer and the camera that my husband gave me.  Those are not homemade or unique, but they are something very useful that I love.  They involved a sacrifice of money, a sacrifice of time in researching which would be the best brands and models, and a knowledge of me and what I like.  My husband knows I would rather have electronics than jewels any day.


A couple more gifts I would like to mention:

This tablecloth was made for me by my grandmother as a wedding present.  It took hundreds of hours of crocheting.  When I was a young, married woman with very few nice things, I loved using this tablecloth for parties and special occasions.  And now it is an heirloom as well.

Crocheted tablecloth from my Grandmother was a Great Gift

This painting was another wedding gift.  It was painted for me by my grandfather.  Not only did he spend many hours painting it, but he also hand gilded the frame – something which is not only time consuming but unpleasant as you have to sit inhaling noxious fumes as you do it.  I love displaying this painting in my house and get many compliments on it.  And every time I see it, it reminds me of my grandfather.

My Grandfather's Painting was a Great Gift

I also meant to take a picture of a little book that another sister made for me entitled, “Why We Love You.”  It is a photo book full of photos of her family with mine, and on each page someone in their family wrote why they love someone in our family.

I could probably go on and on listing wonderful gifts that I have received.  As you can see, I have been the recipient of many great gifts!

Jesus was the First Gift of Christmas


The Challenge

Ask: “OK, so – What are we celebrating at Christmas time?”

Jesus’ birth!

“And why is this something to celebrate?”

Because Jesus’ birth gives us the gifts of salvation and exaltation!

“So how can we give back to Heavenly Father and Jesus for these amazing Christmas gifts?”

Do our best to give good gifts to others!

Tell your family: “This year I challenge you to make a list of everyone to whom you want to give a Christmas gift, and then to spend time thinking about those people.  Get to know them.  Think about what they might like or want or need.  Get on your knees and ask Heavenly Father to help you know the needs and wants of those people on your list.  And then I challenge you to give a gift of yourself.  To make some sacrifices to give really great gifts to all those people.  I promise you that as you do this, you will please your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  You will be giving back to them, and you will be worshipping them.  I promise you it will increase your joy in this Christmas season.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

Giving Good Gifts

{For some FREE PRINTABLES to go with this lesson, check out 25 Gifts Christ Gives to Us.  You can print 25 super cute gift tags, each with a scripture showing a gift God has given to us as well as a page to record all the gifts your family thinks of throughout the month.  Use it as an advent calendar this December!}

7 thoughts on “How to Teach Our Children to Give Good Gifts

  1. bariearl says:

    Wow! what a wonderful lesson.. I hope you also sent it to others in the family. Sister, brothers-in-laws missionaries, anyone who is helping others to enjoy and celebrate Christmas.

  2. corrine says:

    I love this- Its going to be our lesson in 2 weeks! LOVE IT! Seriously, its so special. My girls have been saving up for an American Girl doll and My husband and I are actually going to ask them to Sacrifice what they have been saving in order to SERVE a family in need. I can’t wait to see what they say after this lesson! It’s hard to ask them that but, I’d say those are the BEST gifts- 🙂

  3. Destiny says:

    I love this, I can’t wait to do it with my children tomorrow for fhe

  4. Christa says:

    Love this. Thank you for sharing. Great ideas to instill in our children.

  5. Pauline says:

    Nice lesson, with practical object lessons (nativity & pics of your gifts), brings it all to Jesus! Simple and direct. Love it, it will be my lesson tonight before we start making ornaments to pass out in our church neighborhood. I think they will put in even greater care to make them especially nice! Thank you!

  6. Cyndy Zemp says:

    Thank you for the love, thought, study, prayer, research and sacrifice that you put into this wonderful gift do all of us to share with our families! I love it and plan to share it with my own family and hope that they will continue the tradition for years to come!

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Hi! I'm Laura. I started this blog to continue to teach FHE lessons to my children who are grown and living away from home. I also hope to serve my six sisters by preparing FHE lessons that they can use with their younger children, and I hope the lessons will be helpful to you as well! If you would like to contact me, please e-mail me at

What is FHE?

FHE stands for Family Home Evening and is a night set aside each week (usually Monday) by families who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FHE is a chance for parents to teach lessons to their children about the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as other important topics. The lesson is frequently accompanied by a fun activity together as a family and a yummy treat.
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